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How To Learn Spanish Before You Travel

By Jon, published on 20/06/2018 Blog > Languages > Spanish > Learn Spanish Before Your Holiday

The countdown has begun. You have booked the flights and now you are dreaming of visiting one of the 20 countries where Spanish is an official language. However, prior to departure, you should definitely learn to speak Spanish. Your fluency doesn’t need to be perfect, but learning some Spanish vocabulary, and some Spanish grammar for that matter, it highly recommended before you go abroad.

Having conversational Spanish will help you fend for yourself in one of the many Spanish speaking countries.

Getting to grips with the the basics of the native language of Luz Casal will allow you to fully enjoy your stay, meet locals, and ask for practical information.

Don’t panic.

It’s possible to improve your Spanish while traveling, but there are also a lot of solutions to learn Spanish before packing your bags for the holidays.

Learn how to talk and have a conversation with a Spanish speaker Imagine ordering a cool, refreshing drink in Spanish on this beach

Obviously you will want to learn Spanish fast, but we must warn you that you will still have to be motivated as language learning is no mean feat.

There are some great destinations for learning Spanish, so whether your choice is Barcelona, Argentina, Mexico, or Colombia, take a look at this guide about how best to study Spanish before boarding the plane.

Tips for How to Learn Spanish for Beginners

To learn Spanish quickly before you reach the beaches of the Costa Brava, the Incan ruins of Peru, or the Mayan and Aztec settlements of Mexico, you need to get into good habits from the outset. Here are some little ideas to put into practice without delay:

  1. Change the language on your smartphone to Spanish (it might seem strange at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it).
  2. Start listening to Spanish speaking music. The worldwide success of tracks such as Despacito show the rise in popularity of music in the Spanish language.
  3. Turn on the Spanish speaking news during your breakfast.
  4. Give yourself YouTube breaks with Spanish videos subtitled in English.
  5. Spend at least 15 minutes practising the language each day before you set off on your trip. Let’s reassure the Saturday party-animals; 6 days out of 7 is ok.

Watching movies and TV shows is a great way to improve your Spanish Tune in to Spanish channels to improve your listening skills

Naturally the vast majority of your studying will take place in Spanish lessons, or during your immersion trip to Spain. But these tips will make the assimilation of the language a much smoother process. And if an immersive trip is the route you want to go down, why not check out this list of the best 5 student cities of Spain!

How Can Reading Help You to Learn Spanish?

If you are planning a trip to a Spanish speaking country within the next two years, you may prefer a long-term method of learning Spanish, perhaps through Spanish classes at a language school.

However, if time isn’t on your side in terms of learning how to speak Spanish, you will need an accelerated and effective method of learning Spanish with a lot of oral skills. With this way of learning a foreign language you can become fluent or even bilingual in a couple of months.

If Spanish pronunciation, useful vocabulary and conjugation are important, don’t put pressure on the written aspect. In the short term, you will need to make yourself understood and able to exchange basic information, rather than be able to communicate through the written word.

Obviously you will continue learning Spanish while on holiday, and the improvement of all aspects of your Spanish will happen here.

When it comes to reading in a foreign language, you will find that it is not necessarily that easy to start with. But you will quickly understand that you don’t need to learn every word you don’t know to get the meaning of a sentence or a paragraph.

A great way to become fluent in Spanish is by immersing yourself in the language, and reading will allow you to do this. You will learn new Spanish words to help develop your vocabulary, and you will see how the language is reproduced in a real life context.

Note: As a beginner, there is no need to clutter your mind with vocabulary words that you will not use. Some small books offer rather useful thematic list that will facilitate the task of choosing what new language to memorise.

There are loads of good books to learn Spanish. Make sure you do some research before committing to one, in order to ensure it is a book that will fit your criteria.

Learn more vocabulary and grammar by reading in Spanish Bedtime reading in Spanish will help you to improve your vocabulary

Learn With an App is One of the Best Ways to Learn Spanish

Thanks to various technological advances, it is now considerably easy to learn Spanish online. Whether on your mobile or tablet, applications to learn the Spanish language have become essential to learn Spanish as a second language.

You can search for very specific content anywhere and anytime, and they don’t take up physical space (unlike a book that you have to carry around with you).

With a mobile app dedicated to learning Spanish before your holiday, you can make your daily commute profitable as you kill time in a useful way. Apps will allow you to immerse yourself in the conversations you listen to, and by listening to their pronunciation, their rhythm, you’ll get used to it and improve both you listening and conversational abilities.

By using this learning method, you have several undeniable advantages:

  • Learn while having fun
  • Study a language without time constraint
  • A personalized program
  • Intuitive learning
  • Access free Spanish courses for the most part (Duolingo)

For example, the free Nemo Spanish application allows you to register to correct your accent and pronunciation mistakes. It is a good way to work on your listening skills before speaking to Spanish speakers. Learning a language can be made easier by hearing how natives use certain tenses and vocab, and some apps are able to simulate this.

And if they can’t they can set you up for a real life conversation with a native speaker in Spanish.

Apps really come into their own when assessing the effectiveness. Going to live in a Spanish speaking city (perhaps you are trying to choose between Madrid and Barcelona) is the perfect way to go from basic Spanish, to intermediate and beyond. But obviously we understand that time and financial constraints come in to play here, and therefore the use of apps is a good alternative.

Listening to audio programs and podcasts can help you improve your Spanish Practice your Spanish with a smartphone!

Focus on Digital Resources to Learn Spanish

Do you have bad memories of academic lessons and you’d prefer to learn Spanish without having to go back to school?

For express training, focus on your conversational Spanish and comprehension with intuitive interactive methods. If you want to enjoy your stay in which ever Spanish speaking country that you choose, you need to be able to communicate in the real spoken Spanish. Speaking Spanish, or at least some words and phrases, will mean you won’t have to really on having to communicate with the locals by using your smartphone or tablet.

The great thing about digital resources to work on your Spanish is that there are different types, for all learner profiles, and with a variety of methods:

  • Websites for online Spanish, such as www.studyspanish.com, based on exercises and Spanish course sheets
  • Websites that offer Spanish videos like Videoele.com for multiple levels
  • Spanish online newspapers (El Mundo, La Razon, El País, Cinco Días, etc.): go to www.kiosko.net/es to see all the frontpages of all Spanish newspapers and practice your reading skills.

Watch Movies and TV Shows in Spanish

The language used in movies and TV shows, is the language of everyday life. Since Spanish is a living language, we don’t specifically recommend watching the great classics of Spanish cinema in the near future.

While watching a movie in Spanish, you can soak up the rhythms of sentences, see situations in everyday life, hear idiomatic expressions, and work out how to insert them into a conversation. You will get used to spoken Spanish and understand easier with both subtitles, and the information given by the images.

Movies are like a Spanish lesson, you will improve your comprehension and enrich your Spanish vocabulary.

Be careful, we don’t recommend that you learn sentences by heart in order to reuse them as they are all the time. To memorize useful expressions, don’t hesitate to bring a notebook during the viewing.

Feel free to watch the excellent “For a few dollars more” Sergio Leone (1966) shot in the countryside of Almeria in Spain, for example.

Other recommended movies include The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), which charts the story of a young Che Guevara‘s trip around South America in the early 1950s, or the more recent Contratiempo (2016), known as The Invisible Guest in English, which tells the story of the twists and turns of a man’s attempts to prove he didn’t kill his mistress.

How to Learn Spanish Fast: With the Help of A Spanish tutor

If you learn Spanish with private Spanish teacher, it has the advantage that he or she can help you to work on your pronunciation and conversational skills by correcting the mistakes you make immediately, and hence stopping you falling into bad habits.

For Those Who Have Already Taken Language Courses in Spanish

If you already have some groundings in Spanish, it should be sufficient for you to refresh your memory, and learn specific vocabulary for the holidays.

It will be enough to explore the Spanish speaking country you deicided to visit and work on your Spanish by talking directly with native speakers to improve your conversational abilities.

Native speakers are probably the best teachers. Just by talking to you they will allow you to practice your conversational skills, and help you with the pronunciation.

They will also provide you an infinite amount of new words, adjectives, verbs, and extend your vocabulary knowledge naturally, in a way that it slightly harder in language lessons.

How? With scenarios such as booking a snorkeling trip for 4 people in the Balearic Islands, hiking near Sevilla, or trekking to Machu Picchu in Peru.

For Those Who Don’t Know a Word in Spanish

Would you like to learn useful phrases in Spanish to prepare for your holidays? A private teacher can help you to understand and pronounce these typical questions, but above all a tutor can help you to be able to answer those questions.

If you want to go a step further to be able to build your own sentences, you will have to learn irregular verbs, diphthongs, grammar etc.

This conversational method is also valid with a friend who speaks Spanish, although we admit that this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone.

By now you have all the cards in hand for learning Spanish quickly and effectively before your trip to Ecuador, Guatemala, or Panama.

Of course, don’t forget to put the everlasting little English-Spanish bilingual guide in your suitcase as it could save you once you are there. It will also allow you to progress in Spanish during the holidays.

Yes, before sipping a good mojito in front of the sea or drinking a glass of Pisco in the Peruvian mountains, there is still a bit of work in Spanish courses!

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